Is there a gender bias in how academic leaders are criticized?
Recently, 145 female scientists signed an open letter to challenge the way the Max Planck Society (MPS) manages power abuse cases involving female directors.
Find our statement on the topic below presenting our latest survey results filled by more than 2400 of 5000 doctoral researchers of the MPS.
This recent discussion was triggered by the removal of Nicole Boivin from her position as a director at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. This makes her the fourth publicized female MPS director facing power abuse accusations in the last years. Naturally, one begins to ask themselves if female leaders are judged more harshly than their male counterparts.
But what if this is only half of the story?
Revisiting the data from the PhDnet 2020 survey, we gained addtional insight suggesting that the problem is more complex and that the gender and the career stage of a supervisor have a significant impact on how conflicts are reported as well. We summarized the findings in our statement below (German and English version available) together with our conclusions on what is needed to drive cultural change within academia and protect early career researchers against power abuse.